Throughout the past couple years, one thing has become apparent on Bark. We’re watching TV and we’re ashamed of it. We often confess to having viewed a show or series as if some literary boogeyman is going to come remind us that we have real work do, writing that must be done. But there’s freedom and catharsis in each confession, which is probably why the theme of an embarrassed love has appeared on this site. I have culled through some of our pages and found a selection of articles about why we’re watching TV and what we are hoping to gain from it. I will offer my own terrible TV-viewing habits as the first example, the first sacrifice to the technicolor gods:
Amaris: What I’ve Learned from Bad TV
I snowscreened TV for six years, but then instant viewing became possible with an internet connection within my budget. And I stopped sleeping normally (correlation does not equal causation). I’ll tell you what I’ve been learning from bad TV, and how some shows have applicable writing lessons…
Shira: An Office of One’s Own
Some of you know me as a poet. Or as a poet wanna be. And the inspiration for my recent fiction excursion is a little embarrassing. So, it seems like something worth telling. It’s The Office. That’s why I decided to write fiction. I watch the show and think, I can’t think of anything more worthwhile than creating these fascinating characters and these ridiculous, yet truth-full scenarios.
Jaime R Wood: Watch TV Students!…Am I a Bad Teacher?
Last week while talking to my creative writing class about various structures they might try fitting their fiction into I found myself suddenly using the movie The Hangover as an example of a classic story form.
Asa Maria: Will the Real Author Please Stand Up?
It’s amazing that Castle finds the time to write at all. When he’s not solving murders or attending book launching parties, he plays poker with fellow authors James Patterson, Stephen J. Cannell and Michael Connelly. On the cover of Heat Wave, Patterson says: “Castle hasn’t lost it. Heat Wave looks like another bestseller for the thrillmaster. It’s hot!”
jason: only communists wear jeans
i’m one of those assholes who doesn’t really watch tv* and might casually slip that knowledge into a conversation to try to divert the talk back to books or something else more gay. which means i was pretty late to the game in learning about wieden + kennedy’s “go forth” campaign for levi’s. and i don’t mind saying—it knocked my socks off.
Laura: The Next Literary Star
There’s a TV phenomenon that has me under its spell, and it’s a type of reality show. This isn’t one where people eat bugs–though they could conceivably have to cook them. They’re competition shows, and they’re on the Food Network. The Next Iron Chef and The Next Food Network Star.
Geneva: You win this one, Trebek
My favorite TV show is Jeopardy. When 7 p.m. rolls around, if the television is on, it gets turned just in time for the theme music to kick in, the contestants to be introduced and the categories to be revealed.
Katrina: Happy 70th Birthday Bob Ross
Bob Ross holds a special place in my heart. As a kid, I used to watch his program The Joy of Painting on PBS with my grandmother in Watertown, SD. When my parents and I would come to visit, they would drive into town to run some errands and leave me with her. I would plop down in front of the TV and suck on butterscotch discs while she painted along with him.
Pete Sheehy: Is It Too Soon for a Bio-Pic of Harriet Tubman
It’s no mystery why there hasn’t been a film based on Tubman’s life – if she had been white her face would be on our money, and America would be littered with towns, schools, and airports named after her. I’m not sure who would play the role of Harriet, but I figure if Spielberg can make “Amistad,” why not “Tubman”?
Aileen: Pop Poetry
Sometimes we don’t want to hide our guilty pleasures. Leigh Stein, new kid on the poetry scene , has come to terms with her secret passion for The Bachelorette by turning the reality show into her personal poetry bank. She repurposed lines of dialogue and constructed poems from several episodes creating an off-center sequence that certainly has more gravitas than its source material.
Laura C: Spoiler Alert
Full disclosure: I am a spoiler. I love spoilers. I live for spoilers. I spoil everything for myself before anybody else has a chance to. I notoriously flip to the back of the book to check out the final line of a novel. I read the recap for the latest episode of Mad Men before I get a chance to see the episode. I know the endings to all those terrible M. Night Shyamalan movies, and I haven’t even seen any of them.
Katrina: Figuring Out How Stuff Works Revs my Engines
Not the most academic of pursuits, but I gave myself a sort of prompt: If I’m going to watch TV, it’s going to be educational. It’s going to serve a purpose. So I watched a lot of this show calledWheeler Dealers.
Jason: sorkin strikes again (and again) (and again)
if aaron sorkin’s new show on hbo, “the newsroom,” was a new version of the iPhone, people would’ve been waiting around the block for days in advance of its release. if it were a major SCOTUS decision, excitable mobs would camp on the capitol steps demanding things of it before they’d even seen it. if it were a new star wars or harry potter movie, people might’ve dressed up like sam seaborn and re-enacted scenes from the steam pipe trunk distribution venue while gilbert&sullivan songs played in the background. http://thebarking.com/2012/06/sorkin-strikes-again-and-againand-again/
Laura: Look at Me, I’m Sandra Lee
As uncool as it might be (especially for a 26-year-old), I have to admit: I am a Food Network addict.
Kristina: The Price of Silence
Every year on New Year’s Eve/Day the SciFi channel (now technically called SyFy for a reason I still don’t understand) shows a Twilight Zone marathon. When I was a young girl, I used to be obsessed with watching them all until I decided one day I probably had in fact seen them all.
Jason: louie louie louie
i do not give a shit about mad men, or entourage, or franklin & bash. but i can’t get enough of louie, and if there’s an upside to me being unemployed & homeless, it’s that i get to split my time between my sister’s and mother’s homes, where i can see the show whenever the hell i want. which is often.
Laura: I’d Rather Be Kari Byron
Whenever I’m asked about my dream job, I feel like I should say, “I want to be a writer!” (Full enthusiasm, exclamation points and all.) That is what I’m going to school for, after all. But really, my first thought is always, “I want to be Kari Byron!” In case you don’t know, Kari Byron is the only female Mythbuster. http://thebarking.com/2011/05/id-rather-be-kari-byron/
TJ Fullerman: Writing versus Television
*If I have left any articles out that you would like to link to in the comments, feel free. Preference was given to those who wrote something about how they were ashamed to own a television or watch bad TV and to those who brazenly dove straight into the topic.